Here they are: the best games of the last ten years, as decided by Snackbar staff. Each day this week, we’ll be revealing the next ten games in the list.
Graham Russell: The term “epic” never applied to any game as much as it did to Civ IV. From a small settler to the space race, the game succeeded because of intense playtesting and balancing. There’s no dominant strategy, and random maps don’t make things unbalanced. I’m still not even sure how that’s possible.
Shawn Vermette: The Civilization series is the epitome of the turn-based strategy genre, and Civilization IV took the series to new heights of strategy and addicting gameplay.
Shawn Vermette: Diablo II laid the groundwork for most action RPGs that have followed. Its deep and satisfying character customization, its memorable cinematics, and its engaging story keep people coming back to the gates of Hell almost ten years later.
Andrew Passafiume: This game had me addicted from day one. And with a good group of friends, this game can become one that you may not stop playing for quite some time.
Chris Ingersoll: The DS is often a dumping ground for various puzzle collections, but none of them offer the charming story and animation that the Layton series does. I devoured this title in the space of a weekend, and its sequel (including the much-appreciated “memo” ability on all puzzles) was consumed just as quickly. More!
Graham Russell: I didn’t think I’d enjoy a brainteaser collection. I was wrong. I’m still not sure why, but Layton, Luke and the cast of characters were strangely appealing, and it was hard to stop playing.
Chris Ingersoll: Square-Enix isn’t normally a company that takes a lot of chances. TWEWY was such a radical departure from their usual offerings that it represented a huge risk. Fortunately, that risk paid off in a big way. There are few other games that fully utilize all of the DS’s capabilities like this one.
Mike Walbridge: It was not only a JRPG, but a JRPG by Square Enix on the DS. Yet, it managed to be like juvenile lit, a game you hope your kids play when they are teenagers. Big plus: never a dull moment in a genre filled with the highest ratio of dull-to-exciting moments.
Chris Ingersoll: Using psynergies outside of combat to solve puzzles was a great touch and probably the aspect of Golden Sun I liked the most (even if Pokemon Red/Blue did the same thing with the HMs). Having the story span two carts was gutsy; allowing us to carry over our entire party from one to the other was awesome. I can’t wait to see what the upcoming DS edition will bring.
Graham Russell: The tactics genre has exploded in the past ten years, and this game’s a big part of the reason. The Square-Enix name and the ubiquity and perfect fit of the GBA meant it got in a lot more hands, and that meant Disgaea and more Fire Emblem.
Shawn Vermette: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance surprised with a much different story and style of play outside of battles than most tactical RPGs, but with great, addictive battles and an enjoyable storyline, it became a favorite of many.
Chris Ingersoll: Everything Retro proved with the first Prime title was proved again for its Wii installment. Corruption still stands tall as an example of how the Wii’s simplified control scheme can still produce an epic, challenging adventure.
Eric Schabel: Corruption improves upon the Prime formula in almost every way, but undoubtedly the most exciting new feature of the game was its new control scheme that took advantage of the Wii remote’s pointer. Thanks to the Wii controls, Corruption felt faster and more exciting than its predecessors.
Shawn Vermette: Final Fantasy IX is a throwback to an older style of graphics and setting by Square Enix. This change to a less advanced era and a style reminiscent of Super Nintendo RPGs set FFIX apart from other JRPGs of its generation.
Andrew Passafiume: Although this usually gets overshadowed by Final Fantasy VII and VIII, this is another very solid entry in the series with a truly memorable story and a great cast of characters.
Chris Ingersoll: This is the only game of the trilogy that I have played, mostly because I knew that neither Warrior Within nor Two Thrones would best it. The gameplay in Sands of Time was perfect, and the time manipulation gimmick extraordinary. The fact that this was a multiplatform release says a lot about good games not being dependent on its console’s processing power.
Andrew Passafiume: Although the series has changed drastically since this release, this still remains as the best of the bunch.
Chris Ingersoll: I don’t think any game has had as much to prove as Metroid Prime. Taking Metroid into a first-person perspective was a much larger risk than, say, cel-shading Link. But the guys at Retro Studios completely nailed it, issuing one of the best titles ever on the GameCube.
Eric Schabel: When I first heard that Metroid Prime was going to be a “first person adventure” game, I was a bit skeptical. When the game finally came out, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Prime was much more than a traditional shooter coated in Metroid paint. Prime does a great job of capturing the feel of past Metroid installments, all while presenting a gorgeous new world filled with neat morph ball puzzles and fun boss fights. There’s a bit of tedium to be had if you wish to scan everything for 100% completion, but it was still one of the best games released on the GameCube.